Sophrosyne

Melina Jones
Oct 1, 2014 7:25AM


We often walk through our lives on autopilot, overlooking the details that happen in our everyday lives. We tend to focus only on the experiences that evoke radical emotions such as love or hatred. We forget about the experiences that affect us in smaller ways, the experiences that happen everyday. In my exhibit, I chose these works of art by Rauschenberg to communicate the idea that people lack balance. Thus, Sophrosyne was born. Sophrosyne is an ancient Greek term that means balance. The Greeks were obsessed with this concept; that you cannot have too much of one thing. In my exhibition, I am articulating Rauschenberg’s belief in sophrosyne. Through the pieces I selected, five total, I created an exhibition dealing with this concept in depth.

The first piece chosen, White Painting [Three Panel], symbolizes the most euphoric moments of our lives, the moments where we are the most joyful. This piece is 72 x 108 inches, effectively taking up a healthy amount of space, which I feel aides my concept because when we feel positive emotions such as euphoria and happiness, it consumes us in the best way. When we feel positive  in our day to day lives, whether it’s from someone holding the elevator door for us or finding ten dollars on the ground, we give all our focus on these positive emotions. This painting will be displayed first , so that everything following it, will represent the emotional decline. The last piece is an all black painting, which represents our lowest emotions, when we feel the worst, thus why it is farthest from the white painting. These two paintings illustrate the most important part of the average persons’ life. In the exhibition, these paintings would be the farthest from each other.

Following the white painting, and prior to the black painting, are three of Rauschenberg's pieces that all share the same visual aesthetic. They are white, black and neon blue. Female Figure and Untitled [Double Rauschenberg] both feature humans.These pieces with human figures illustrate the people we come in contact with in our lives everyday. The third piece, Bicycloid II, simply represents transportation, getting to work, exercise and other mundane tasks that we go through everyday.

The exhibition itself will be held in a rotunda room, each painting will be spaced equally from one another, with the white and black paintings the farthest from each other. Spot lights will flicker, going from focusing on White Painting [Three Panel] and Untitled [glossy black four-panel painting], to focusing on Untitled [Double Rauschenberg], Female Figure, and Bicycloid II. The spotlights changing focus would help to further illustrate the idea that we should stop focusing so much on such severe emotions, and begin focusing and enjoying moments that happen in our everyday life.

Melina Jones
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019